Civil rights leaders are calling for the Oklahoma State Election Board to halt what they call a purge of voter rolls, saying it disproportionately effects minority voters.
“Let’s work with the constituents of this state to make sure everybody has the right to vote,” Oklahoma NAACP President Anthony Douglas said.
The board said their hands are tied – both federal and state law requires them to ensure voting rolls are accurate, even down to the mailer sent send out two months ago, before the latest round of inactivation.
Douglas said the mailers are often confused for junk mail and thrown away.
Nicole McFaee with the American Civil Liberties Union said there has to be a better way to make sure the list is correct.
“If they’ve already gone through all of the effort to register to vote in the first place, then to show up at a poll on election bad because something moved you there, and you were turned away because you haven’t voted recently, it’s just really tough,” she said.
The State Election Board said there are seven reasons someone can be placed on the inactive list, including not voting in one of the last two federal general elections or having mail from the board returned.
Those who haven’t voted recently can be reactivated by voting in the next two general elections or by updating their registration information.
“This voter purge is based on a shaky foundation and will greatly harm unaware voters of this threat to their democratic right to vote,” Douglas said.